6th Jun 2022
The Platinum Jubilee celebrations have masked major political news in the UK. But scratch beneath the surface and it is clear the government is now in choppy waters. It looks like the Prime Minister may face a vote of no confidence sooner rather than later and there is no certainty about the outcome. Given the reception he received during the jubilee events, the mood within his Party cannot be good.
Polls suggest if he doesn’t face a vote this week, he is set to lose two by-elections later this month, and this may trigger the challenge. Very choppy waters for him.
Whatever your views of his problems, our industry should be wary of what comes next. Even if he succeeds in securing his Premiership for another 12 months, all the pundits suggest he will do a Ministerial reshuffle. Obviously if he is kicked out of office, whoever succeeds him in a few weeks’ time, will do their own reshuffle. So we should prepare for fresh faces in the key departments; we could lose allies or we might see allies promoted, everything is in the mix. So time to dust off those briefing notes.
The disappointing thing in all this is the uncertainty, the adding of delays to programmes and consultations. It doesn’t help anyone. Officials will use any political hiatus to simply retreat into a shell, waiting for new faces to either confirm support for existing policy or signal change.
Every trade body will be having the same thoughts as ourselves, but in the energy industry, we perhaps feel the pressure more. Partly because many of the key decisions are of such long-term significance that short-term instability creates a disproportionate impact and secondly, because right now energy policy is front and centre of the political debate.
The key thing to remember throughout any period of uncertainty is the question of whether the fundamentals have changed. And in that aspect, they haven’t. The long-term role of hydrogen as a replacement for natural gas is as strong as ever. Consumers simply can’t afford or don’t want the alternatives. And if the economy does falter, adding to the PM’s woes, it makes the case for expensive alternatives even more difficult to sell.
Mike Foster, CEO